Riley Crossman was a 15-year-old from Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. She was attending high school and living with her mom, Chantel Oakley. Riley’s parents are divorced, but they both live in the same town.
On May 8th, Chantel went into Riley’s room like she does every morning before school. It was 7:15 in the morning and Riley wasn’t in there. Chantel thought nothing of Riley’s room being empty because her classes started at 7:45 and she would have had to have left by then to be on time.
When 3:30 p.m. rolled around and Riley failed to come home, Chantel definitely started getting worried. And when Riley’s school called her to say Riley had been marked as absent that very day and had not showed up at all, she started to panic.
Instagram; Riley smiles and rests her head on her hand in the above photo
Chantel drove to Riley’s school to search it herself. There was no sign of Riley and nobody had seen her that day. Chantel then called Riley’s boyfriend, Haydn Lacy, but he had not seen her either.
Chantel then called Riley’s dad, and finally…placed a call to the police.
Instagram; Riley smiles and strikes a pose in the photo above
Chantel knew something had happened to Riley because she is very reliable for a teenager. She would not just run off and not tell anyone, that wasn’t in her nature.
She went on to say Riley can’t drive and doesn’t even have her learner’s permit, so she could not have just driven somewhere.
“That is why I immediately would start checking things because she would not run away,” Chantel said about her daughter to Dateline.
“She loves us. She wouldn’t want us to be upset.”
Riley’s dad said he agreed with Chantel, “She wouldn’t just run off. She has never hurt anyone in her life. She’s very gentle.”
Instagram; Riley wears a beautiful red dress in the above photo while sitting on her couch at home
Chantel last saw Riley the day before she went missing. Riley came home from school and woke her mom up at around 3:30 so she would not be late for the evening shift at work.
She said Riley was acting completely normal and not off at all. She didn’t notice anything wrong with her daughter. Riley went back to her bedroom while Chantel got ready to leave and head to her job.
All of Riley’s friends and family members agree that she is just a reliable and respectful girl, as well as a perfect student.
Instagram; Riley holds a big bouquet of bright pink roses in the photo above
She is on her school’s gymnastics team and she participates in quite a few extracurricular activities. She wouldn’t run away. She wouldn’t skip school. She wouldn’t leave her parents worried sick.
The local police then got involved in trying to locate Riley. Where would this girl have gone?
Riley had been dating her boyfriend Haydn for 8 months. He posted a photo of her missing poster with the caption, “Doing everything I can to try and find her, I haven’t slept since she’s been missing and I physically cannot sleep or function without her I’m worse than ever right now and I need her to be here and safe, I can’t go any longer without her I just want her with me right now I’ve been worried to death and I just need something to make me feel better but she’s the only one who can do that.. I really hope you’re ok baby just please be safe.”
Instagram; pictured above, Riley’s boyfriend Haydn posted a photo of her missing flyer on social media
Riley’s dad, Lance, said that there was just no way Haydn could be involved in her disappearance. He also said Haydn was a positive influence on her in every way.
Instagram; Riley and Haydn are pictured above wearing matching sweatshirts that say King and Queen
“He’s a pretty good kid. Riley has been pulling her grades up since she’s been with him,” Lance said to Dateline.
“He’s pretty tore up over this. I know that’s the first place people typically look for suspects, but it’s not the case here.”
At 5:40 in the morning on the day she disappeared, Riley tried to video call Haydn but he didn’t pick up. That was the last recorded activity on Riley’s phone that day.
Haydn had not been at school when Riley failed to show up: he was on a field trip. He didn’t even know Riley was missing until he came home from his trip at 3:30 in the afternoon.
Instagram; Riley and Haydn are pictured above at their school’s Homecoming Dance together
Berkeley Springs High School, where Riley attended, actively asked all their students to do everything in their power to help bring Riley back home.
They even held a rally in her honor to, “show of support from the BSHS community in the efforts to get her home safely.”
Facebook; pictured above is a photo from Berkeley Springs High School’s rally for Riley
Speaking to Dateline, Lance said, “We’ve had several volunteer searches that we’ve organized. There’s just been so many areas that we have covered on ground searches. It’s been the worst thing that’s ever happened to any of us. None of us are sleeping or eating very well.”
He ended by saying, “We do have a good support system and community support. But it’s been horrific.”
The community was so supportive in trying to find Riley that the sheriff’s office had to post on Facebook saying they didn’t need any more physical resources in the hunt for Riley.
“We are not looking for any additional equipment or resources now other than those who can walk and physically search areas,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement online.
As the days went on, it wasn’t just the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department and local community volunteers searching for Riley.
The FBI got involved. The Department of Homeland Security got involved. The West Virginia State Police got involved.
Facebook; pictured above is the statement the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department released on social media about the volunteer efforts
And if you take a look at Riley’s own social media, her posts became increasingly dark leading up to her disappearance, which is deeply different from what she normally posts.
Happy photos with her family and Haydn, positive quotes and messages; that’s what normally appears on Riley’s social media.
Instagram; Riley snaps a photo in a bathroom mirror of herself wearing a sweatshirt and jeans
Right before Riley went missing, she snapped a few photos she posted with captions like, “You’re like a penny, your practically worthless, no one wants you, you’re almost always in a dirty place, you’re two-faced, you don’t shine, and your value is very very low” and “smile through the pain.”
Going from bubbly and happy to dark and dismal, people started to think maybe she did perhaps run off.
That wouldn’t be like her, but then again her recent posts were nothing like her…
Instagram; Riley smiles with a dog filter overlaying her face in the above photo
But none of her social media accounts had been updated since she went missing. And there was no activity on her cell phone either.
Days went by and still, nothing. Authorities and volunteers continued to desperately search for her.
Instagram; Riley crosses her arms over her head in the photo pictured above
Local ponds and lakes, wooded areas, abandoned buildings, uninhabited areas, abandoned cars, backyards, underpasses…everything anyone could think of was searched.
Authorities and Riley’s family urged the public to not just be on the lookout for a blonde 15-year-old teenager…they suspected Riley very well could have been abducted and forced to dye her hair another color.
And then, authorities turned their suspicions closer to home. Inside Riley’s mom Chantel’s home, to be exact.
Chantel was dating a 41-year-old man named Andy J. McCauley. The initial statement Andy gave to the police wasn’t adding up, after all. Video surveillance and eyewitness accounts ended up helping the police to uncover he was anything but honest about the day Riley disappeared.
Instagram; Riley poses in a mirror and snaps a photo of herself at a hotel on a trip
Andy told authorities that he left his job at 9 a.m. the day Riley disappeared so that he could go back to the house to get drugs. He said he was only out of work for 2 hours before returning from his trip.
Video surveillance proved that he was not telling the truth and that Andy had left work for far more than 2 hours that fateful day. He was also caught on camera driving a different route to the house than the one he told authorities he had taken.
Now, why would he lie about all of this? What did Andy have to hide?
Instagram; Riley smiles and puts her head on her hand in the photo above
Authorities uncovered that Riley had sent some chilling texts to Haydn the night before she vanished. “Andy’s in my room,” she texted him at 11:01 p.m. on the evening of May 7th.
Just 12 minutes after Riley sent Haydn that first crazy text, she sent a second, and it would be the last text message she ever sent.
“I’m scared, babe,” Riley wrote to him.
Andy was on authorities’ radar the day Riley was reported missing by her mom, but this is what sent their suspicions over the edge.
Riley was finally found, on May 16th, 8 days after she had initially gone missing. Located high up on a very steep cliff, there she was.
Instagram; Riley poses in the above photo with her glasses on, which she captioned “Although you may think I’m weird…I assure you, I am”
Cadaver dogs had located Riley, and she was in such a terrible state of decomposition that the medical examiner couldn’t exactly determine how Riley had died. It could be many months before Riley’s true cause of death can be uncovered, and we may never know what happened to her.
Instagram; Riley smiles and snaps a selfie in the photo above
Cadaver dogs also helped pin what happened to Riley on Andy. They discovered the signs of a dead body in the bed of Andy’s truck. In addition to this, drywall mud and sheet metal screws were found on Riley’s body and also found in Andy’s truck and toolbelt from work.
Authorities then revealed that Andy had called Riley 3 times from 3 a.m. to 4 a.m. before she disappeared. The motive for why Andy did this is still completely unknown at this time, but he was arrested right after Riley’s remains were discovered and is police custody.
He is not eligible for bail and has not pleaded to the charges against him yet. Andy is being charged with Riley’s murder.
Riley’s dance teacher Holli McCumbee said to WDTV that Riley “was a ray of sunshine.”
Instagram; Riley sits on the floor of her bedroom in the above photo
“She could walk into any room and smile and everybody would just smile. She was that kid. She was one of those kids that was going to go somewhere. She had a very bright future. She could have done whatever she wanted.”
Twitter; pictured above is Andy’s mugshot, along with a headline about his arrest for Riley’s murder
Young Mom Murdered After Having An Affair, Along With Her Toddler Son, And Baby Daddy Is The Killer
Karissa Fretwell was a 25-year-old mom living in Salem, Oregon. She had a 3-year-old son named William Fretwell, whom she affectionately nicknamed Billy. Karissa and Billy lived in a small apartment together. Billy’s dad wanted nothing to do with him and was not involved in his life, or Karissa’s really for that matter.
On her Facebook profile, Karissa described her son as “my world.” She worked hard to support herself and her son, holding down a job as a security guard while also attending Western Oregon University to study education.
On Friday, May 17th, Karissa’s family reported her as missing to the Salem Police Department after not hearing from her for four long days and after she failed to show up to her job. They were seriously concerned because it was not like Karissa to just disappear, let alone with her young son.
Facebook; pictured above in black and white, Karissa and Billy smile together
Karissa was reliable. She was responsible. She didn’t miss work. She didn’t fail to call and text her family back. She owned several cats, and wouldn’t leave town without having someone lined up to care for them.
“My darling boy, I love you. When I’m struggling with life, you keep me grounded. When I’m struggling with being a mom, you come to me with arms wide open, you rest your head on my shoulder, and hold me tight. You push me to be a better person, a better mom, and live a whole new life I never imagined possible,” Karissa captioned a photo of herself and her son on her Facebook page.
Facebook; in the photo above, Karissa sits with Billy on her lap in front of some beautiful flowers
Salem Police Department released a statement about Karissa, “On May 17, 2019, the Salem Police Department was contacted by family members of Karissa Alyn Fretwell, age 25 of Salem, to file a missing persons report.
Karissa’s family told police they had not seen or heard from her or her three-year-old son, William (Billy) Fretwell, since May 13.”
Some of Karissa’s neighbors said that not long before she disappeared, they heard something weird coming from her apartment.
Normally, Karissa was a very quiet person and didn’t make any noise or cause any disturbances to her neighbors. She always kept to herself. Neighbors also confirmed she worked in security and had lived there for about a year.
Two months before Karissa went missing, her neighbors said to KOIN 6 that they, “heard a man and woman arguing incredibly loud.”
Facebook; Karissa snaps a selfie in the above photo of her and Billy laying side by side together and smiling
They went on to say, “The man was swearing a lot and there was a kid crying in the background, and the woman was yelling at him to get out of her apartment.”
That was completely out of character for this kind and good-natured mom who didn’t disturb the peace of her neighborhood.
Police had knocked on neighbors doors asking if they had seen or heard from Karissa, and nobody had. Karissa’s sister went around to the neighbors asking about her as well. They found Karissa’s apartment completely unlocked, and her only credit card and pair of glasses were inside.
Facebook; Karissa smiles in the above photo while she holds Billy
One of Karissa’s neighbors, Robert Allen, said that he told Karissa’s sister that he would look in her windows intermittently to see if he could find any signs of her.
He added, “I have noticed that the television screen, it’s been on the same screen for about a week, so obviously there’s no one in the apartment.”
What’s really weird is that one of Karissa’s friends told police that just six days before she vanished into thin air, she asked about how to install a Ring video doorbell, which is used for security. Why was this mom concerned for her safety and that of her son?
Facebook; Karissa smiles in the above photo while holding Billy on her shoulders
Authorities found Karissa’s white Pontiac Grand Am parked right outside of her apartment on the side of the street. In the backseat, they could see Billy’s car seat. Where would she and Billy have gone if she hadn’t taken her car with her?
Facebook; Karissa holds Billy and smiles in the above photo while at her graduation ceremony, wearing a cap and gown
Authorities also found another car parked right in front of Karissa’s Grand Am, a green colored Mercury Mountaineer.
On the front seat of the car on the passenger’s side, they could see an application Karissa had filled out for financial aid from her college, and her signature was clearly on it.
Megan Harper, one of Karissa’s friends who lives nearby in McMinnville, said to The Statesman Journal:
“I feel ill with worry about William. Last night, I held my daughter’s hand so tightly while she slept and I couldn’t sleep because my mind was going over all the possibilities of what could be happening to him.”
Facebook; Karissa and Billy are pictured above together smiling and enjoying some outside time
Megan was supposed to watch Billy for Karissa on the night of May 17th, which is the day Karissa was reported to police as missing by her family.
Megan says she never heard from Karissa that evening, and she added: “She has a strong work ethic. She’d never miss work.”
Facebook; Karissa snaps a selfie of her and Billy in the photo above
After one long month of searching for Karissa and Billy, a team from the McMinnville Fire Department located the mom and son.
In a very secluded and remote section of Yamhill County, in a densely forested area of private timberland, the two were discovered. People that live there say it’s a very quiet place, and most of the activity comes from commercial logging.
2 weeks before Karissa and Billy were found, detectives had combed that area of Yamhill County, with no success. They had even come about 800 yards of where Karissa and Billy lay underneath a bunch of debris.
40 more people had been dispatched to this heavily wooded area to help hunt for this mom and son. After two hours of the search starting, they had found Kariss and Billy, laying next to one another, and buried by a bunch of debris that was not native to the surrounding area. They also found a gun lying close to Karissa and Billy.
After being brought in to the state medical examiner, it was determined that Karissa’s cause of death was a homicide.
She sadly died from a gunshot wound to her head. Authorities have revealed that Billy’s cause of death has not yet been determined, and additional testing will need to be performed to determine the cause.
Facebook; Karissa holds Billy and smiles wide at him in the photo above
Authorities turned their attention to Billy’s dad, 52-year-old Michael Wolfe, and this is where things began to get very strange.
It turns out Billy owned a piece of property just 9 miles away from where Karissa and Billy’s bodies had been discovered, and it was no secret he didn’t want Billy in the first place.
Facebook; Karissa is pictured above wearing glasses, an orange shirt, and a big smile
Speaking just 24 hours after Karissa’s autopsy had been performed, Brad Berry, the Yamhill County District Attorney, spoke to reporters in a press briefing.
He revealed that it was well known to authorities that Michael fished in the area where his mistress and child were found. When asked why authorities had zeroed in on that exact and remote area, Brad said, “It was just really good detective work.”
“Putting pieces together, going through to narrow the area they needed to look.”
Facebook; Karissa and Billy hug each other in the above photo while smiling big together
Brad also revealed, “There are other areas within the Weyerhaeuser property that we believe he’s had permits before, to cut firewood, up in that area, we’re not exactly sure where that was.”
“But we were aware that he was familiar with the area.”
Facebook; Karissa and Billy are all smiles in the photo above, and you can tell these two always had fun
He also commented on how exactly the authorities knew about how to look in such a remote area for Karissa and Billy.
“The information leading them back to that spot has been gathered over time,” Brad divulged.
“There’s really a lot more than that, but I can’t get into that part of the details of the investigation. That’s really, pretty sensitive stuff.”
Karissa initially met Michael, Billy’s biological dad, while she worked as a delivery driver for the sandwich company Jimmy Johns. Michael was working at a company called Cascade Steel Rolling Mills, and he would specifically call and request that Karissa be the one to deliver his food to him.
Bethany Brown, one of Michael’s coworkers and a friend of Karissa’s, commented to the Salem Reporter on how the interactions between Karissa and Michael began.
Facebook; Karissa and Billy are pictured in the photo above together with their big, signature smiles
“He would call almost every day to get food delivered from her. She would come back and say how he would make inappropriate comments,” Bethany said.
Karissa then got a job as a security job at Michael’s company, and that is when the two began seeing one another. Despite the weird comments Michael had made, the two developed an intimate relationship. “There was never a relationship there,” Karissa’s friend Megan said to KATU.
“She never knew he was married until after a couple weeks of her being pregnant. Then he offered to pay for an abortion.” Michael was concerned that his affair and Billy’s birth would destroy his marriage.
Facebook; Karissa and Billy smile together in the above photo while all dressed up
It was exactly three days after finding out that she was pregnant with Billy that Karissa then learned the truth about her baby daddy.
She discovered that Michael was not only married and had been the whole time they were seeing one another, he also had children of his own from this marriage.
Karissa decided she was going to have Billy, despite Michael insisting that she terminate her pregnancy and saying he would have nothing to do with their child.
When Billy was around 2-years-old, Karissa went to court to prove Billy’s paternity. Her claim was verified by a DNA test that Michael had to submit to, and Karissa then proceeded to file a petition to grant her $900 in child support every month for Billy. A month before the two disappeared, a judge granted Karissa’s child support request and ordered Michael to pay up.
It was not long after Karissa filed for child support that Michael decided he did want to be involved in Billy’s life. He wanted full custody of him. Megan added, “That was her fear, him taking her child away. My first thought when she went missing was that he’d done something.”
Facebook; Karissa and Billy stand together in a field while holding hands in the photo above
It wasn’t just Megan that was concerned Michael would do something bad to Karissa. Several of Karissa’s friends stepped forward and told authorities that Michael had been sending Karissa disturbing messages in the months leading up to her murder.
Facebook; Karissa and Billy smile in the above photo together
“There were all these warning signs,” Megan insisted. “He would send her creepy things in the mail.”
It’s unclear when Michael’s wife became aware of the affair he had with Karissa, and about Billy. They are currently still married.
A babysitter of Billy’s has come forward, although she requested her name not be made public, to share that Michael AND his wife both were threatening Karissa shortly before her death. They were making threats to her because they both wanted full custody of Billy.
On May 25th, Michael was arrested while he was at a local donut shop in Portland. Although he told authorities he had no contact whatsoever with Karissa or Billy a month before they disappeared, authorities have video footage and cellphone data backing up that Michael is lying, and ultimately responsible for Karissa and Billy’s murders.
Facebook; Karissa snaps a selfie of her and Billy together in the photo above
Michael has been charged with two counts of kidnapping and two counts of murder. The investigation into Karissa and Billy’s murders is still ongoing. If you have any information related to this case, please contact the Salem Police Department’s Tip Hotline at (503) 588-8477.
Facebook; Karissa and Billy are pictured together in the above photo walking down a road while holding hands
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We write these stories because it’s important to bring awareness to situations like these and it’s important for the voices of the victims to be heard. If you want to keep reading additional stories like this, please see the other stories from us below.